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Major Festivals Of Nepal

Nepal has more festivals than the number of days in a year. A festival is always a meaningful and memorable event in the life of Nepalese people. Every festival has some purpose to serve. From bringing in the rain to honoring the dead or averting calamities, every festival has something spiritual about it. Festival is a way of life in Nepal. With the number of festivals that Nepal has, it is one of the best ways to understand and appreciate the Nepalese ways of life. The dates of Nepali festivals are according to the lunar calendar. Hence the date of festivals varies from year to year. Some of the major festivals of Nepal are:

April

New Year's Day : - (First day of Baisakh)
Matatirtha Aaunsi :- (Mother's Day)
Buddha Jayanti :- Celebrating the birth of Lord BuddhaGhodejatra :- Known as the festival of horses, it is one of the most exciting festivals of the Kathmandu city. Horse race and other sports take place at Tundikhel on this day.

May

Rato Machhendranath Rath Jatra :- The festival of Lokeswar, one of the patron Gods of Kathmandu. A 40-foot tall chariot with the God's image installed is pushed and pulled through the streets by hundreds of worshippers.
Kumar Sasthi :- A celebration of the birth of the Hindu warrior God Kumar marks the beginning of the rice planting season. It's also celebrated by groups of boys who indulge in stone throwing fights.

June

No major festivals in the monsoon season.

July

Ghanta Kharna :- A festival commemorating an ancient victory over a particularly malevolent devil, Gathemuga. Mock funerals are held and figures burned in effigy.

August

Guru Poornima :- Teacher's Day
Naga Panchami :- A festival devoted to the snake gods, who most Nepalese believe ruled the Valley before the coming of people.
Janai Purnia :- The festival of changing of the sacred thread which every Brahmin caste Hindu male wears around his torso.

September

Gaijatra(Cow Festival) :- A festival to the sacred cow. Among other symbolisms of the cow, cows are believed to lead the souls of the dead to the underworld; and on Gaijatra Newar households process around an ancient path believed to mark the city walls of times past, in honor of recently deceased members of their families. It's also a carnival celebration with practical jokes - something like Mardi Gras combined with April Fool's day.
Krishna Asthami :- Celebrating the birth of the Hindu God Krishna, one of the incarnations of Lord Vishnu.
Gokarna Aunsi :- Father's Day
Indra Jatra :- This festival officially begins with the raising of a 50-feet tall ceremonial pole at Hanuman Dhoka Durbar Square in Kathmandu. A weeklong traditional display of old images of Akash Bhairavs is one of the highlights of this festival. The ceremonial pulling of the rath (chariot) of the Kumari, the chariots of Ganesh and Bhairav accompany the Virgin or Living Goddess. >

October

Bada Dashain :- The biggest and most widely celebrated national festival in Nepal, usually falls in early October. It begins with Ghatsthapana. Of the two full weeks of celebrations, the 8th, 9th and 10th are the most eventful and auspicious days. The main deity worshipped during Dashain is Goddess Durga. On the 9th day, thousands of devotees visit important Durga temples to worship her. The tenth day is climax day. People visit to seniors for Tika (blessings). The ministers, high-ranking officials, general public queue to get Tika from their Majesty in Royal Palace.

November

Tihar :- It is also known as Diwali or Deepavali, is the festival of lights in Nepal. The celebrations continue for five days. It is an annual festival celebrated in the bright blue days of autumn. The festival begins with the worship of crows, followed by the worship of dogs on the 2nd day. On the 3rd day, Laxmi, the goddess of wealth, is worshipped. On the 5th day, one's own soul is worshipped. Sisters also worship their brothers on this day. This is called Bhai Tika, and is a great day and the grand finale to Tihar.
Constitution Day :- The new democratic constitution of the Kingdom of Nepal was promulgated on November 9, 1990. since then, this day is observed as the Constitution day.
Dhanya Purnima :- A full moon festival celebrating the end of the rice harvest.
Mani Rimdu :- It is one of the most fascinating High Himalayan Buddhist festivals observed every year, usually in November. Tengboche, the world's highest monastery located in Solu Khumbu district of Nepal, is the focal point for the celebration of this festival. The main attraction of this festival is the various masked dances of religious significance.

December

Seto Machhendranath :- A cleansing ritual for the White (seto) Machhendranath, a counterpart god to the Red (rato) Machhendranath who's chariot procession is in April-May.
Birthday of previous King Birendra Bir Bikram Sha Dev :- The suspicious birthday of His Majesty King Birendra Bir Bikram Shah Deve falls on December 28/29 ( Push 14th). This occasion is celebrated with great enthusiasm all over the kingdom.

January

Prithivi Jayanti :- This festival is celebrated in honor of King Prithvi Narayan Shah, the founder of Modern Nepal, with a colorful ceremony in front of the Singh Durbar Gate in Kathmandu.

February

Losar :- It is one of the greatest festivals of significant importance to the Sherpas and peoples of Tibetan origin. It is celebrated every year in February. The focus of this festival centers around the celebration of the Tibetan New Year. Many fascinating rituals and celebrations may be observed in Boudha and in Tibetan settlements such as the Tibetan Refugee Camp at Jawlakhel, Patan.
National Democracy Day :- This day is officially observed as Rastriya Prajatantra Divas or National Democracy Day ( it generally falls on February 18th i.e. 7th of Phalgun as a mark of respect ot people's revolution of 1950 - 51.

March

Shiva Ratri :- Shivaratri or the night of Lord Shiva, is observed in March. It is celebrated in honour of Lord Shiva. A great religious fair takes places in the Pashupatinath Tmple and thousands of people from all over Nepal and India visit the temple.